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Bonchon Chicken, KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) in Numerous Suburban Locations


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I read the NY Times article that I'll link below a couple of months ago and was curious to see how Bon Chon chicken tasted like and to my surprise a Bon Chicken store opened up inside the new Lotte Plaza Int'l supermarket in Germantown. I looked around their website and it looks a new one is also opening up in Annandale [this link has the new location] on 7/15. Anyhow, if you happened to be up in Germantown, I highly recommend you try this korean-style fried chicken. It has a very light flaky skin and juicy meat that tastes wonderful. They have two flavors, soy garlic and a spicy variation. Both my wife and I were partially to the spicy one. The pieces of chicken are available in drumsticks or wings and come with a radish side dish that some korean restaurants serve as a pan-chan.

Feb 7, 2007 - "Koreans Share Their Secret for Chicken with a Crunch" by Julia Moskin on nytimes.com

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Last week I had practice wings prior to Sunday,  then home made SuperBowl wings on Sunday ;  and today our office ordered from the Arlington BonChon.   Hmm.  BonChon.  Delish.  We order from the Arlin

We visited the Arlington location night and we were definitely impressed. Don't miss the Pork Buns appetizer. These crispy pork sandwiches come two to an order. It was our favorite item that we tried.

I've only been to Bon Chon a couple of times, but I completely agree.  While I love chicken legs prepared in just about any way, I also prefer the wings to the legs here.  There's too much meat to ski

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Bon Chon Chicken is opened on July 20th in Annandale. I had a hard time to find the location because the google map said it is near Yechon but I wasn't able to see anything like it. Finally I made a phone call yesterday and found out that it is located in the small size mall between Campbell Ferrera Nursery and Sambo restaurant. I imagined it would be like a take-out place but surprisingly it is a restaurant that serves not only fried chicken but also other Korean dishes and beer/soju. According to the brochure, it takes 20 minutes to prepare but actually it took longer than that even though we were the second customers. For Fried chicken, there are wings / legs / special (wing & leg) with soy-garlic or hot sauce but no breasts. Large plate costs $17.95 and medium one is $10.95. We ordered a special with hot sauce (large plate). Somehow, the server got mixed up my order and asked me if I can accept the soy-garlic/hot sauce half and half. Otherwise, she would order a new one but we were too hungry to wait another 20 minutes. mad.gif The chicken is very crispy, tasty and not too saucy. No flour batter. Small sides (pickled radish and cabbage strips with thousand island dressing) were accompanied as usual. It is not as spicy as Cheogajip chicken. I would say it is a medium or med-high level of spiciness. The soy-garlic sauce is also good but not much garlicky to me. The portion was pretty good size for two persons. I'll definitely go back soon.

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Bon Chon Chicken is opened on July 20th in Annandale. I had a hard time to find the location because the google map said it is near Yechon but I wasn't able to see anything like it. Finally I made a phone call yesterday and found out that it is located in the small size mall between Campbell Ferrera Nursery and Sambo restaurant. I imagined it would be like a take-out place but surprisingly it is a restaurant that serves not only fried chicken but also other Korean dishes and beer/soju. According to the brochure, it takes 20 minutes to prepare but actually it took longer than that even though we were the second customers. For Fried chicken, there are wings / legs / special (wing & leg) with soy-garlic or hot sauce but no breasts. Large plate costs $17.95 and medium one is $10.95. We ordered a special with hot sauce (large plate). Somehow, the server got mixed up my order and asked me if I can accept the soy-garlic/hot sauce half and half. Otherwise, she would order a new one but we were too hungry to wait another 20 minutes. :angry: The chicken is very crispy, tasty and not too saucy. No flour batter. Small sides (pickled radish and cabbage strips with thousand island dressing) were accompanied as usual. It is not as spicy as Cheogajip chicken. I would say it is a medium or med-high level of spiciness. The soy-garlic sauce is also good but not much garlicky to me. The portion was pretty good size for two persons. I'll definitely go back soon.

Grover, thanks for the information on the Annandale location. I'm sure I'll be checking it out when I'm in Annandale since it seems like it's a restaurant with other items than the chicken. The one in Lotte Plaza in Germantown is just a take-out type place since it's within Lotte Plaza supermarket and not even with the other restaurants that are on the other side of Lotte Plaza with seating.

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There is also one that just opened in Germantown- HALLELUJAH- something to finally get excited about in Germantown- it's in the LOTTE MARKET on Germantown Road- take I-270 to exit 15B and go about 1 mile down the road- there's a shopping center on your right -Germantown Plaza. it's in there.

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I tried Bon Chon Chicken last night. I got a medium special (half soy/garlic and half spicy). The chicken is very crispy and not greasy at all, and the sauce does not get all over your hands -- it seems more like a glaze that gets cooked into the crust. The meat was very juicy. The spicy chicken was satisfyingly spicy -- it made my lips tingle, but I was not gasping for water. Although they told me it would take half an hour to prepare my order, it took closer to 45-50 minutes. I was told they had a huge backlog of take out orders. It was early in the evening and only about 4 tables were occupied, so I was surprised that they were having such trouble getting the orders out. The pickles were good, but there was too much thousand island dressing on the salad. However, for only about $11.50, it was a very tasty and inexpensive meal for 2 people.

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After 2 trips to Bonchon, I sent an email to Bonchon customer service about a timing problem and some other things a couple of days ago. I suggested that they should notify the customers the prep time if it is longer than what they committed and wet napkins are necessary because the fingers are still sticky a bit. I also mentioned the smoking issue. I've got a phone call from a lady at Bonchon VA location yesterday. She said that they are running 6 friers and the temperature is slightly lower than other places such as KFC or Popeyes so it takes 30 mintues for frying chickens twice. The reason for the low temperature is that it cooks the chicken completely inside out. They start preparing when the order is made. The process from brushing the bbq sauce by hand to frying them twice takes time. I was glad that I heard the explanation.

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I've got a phone call from a lady at Bonchon VA location yesterday. She said that they are running 6 friers and the temperature is slightly lower than other places such as KFC or Popeyes so it takes 30 mintues for frying chickens twice. The reason for the low temperature is that it cooks the chicken completely inside out. They start preparing when the order is made. The process from brushing the bbq sauce by hand to frying them twice takes time. I was glad that I heard the explanation.

I wonder why Annandale takes 30 minutes to fry the chickens because I ordered the small chicken drumstick/wing combo from the BonChon in the Lotte at Germantown yesterday, and maybe I got lucky, but it only took 15 to 20 minutes for my chicken to be ready. This is the first time I was there so I don't know if that's normal. (BonChon's corporate website is here.)

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I wonder why Annandale takes 30 minutes to fry the chickens because I ordered the small chicken drumstick/wing combo from the BonChon in the Lotte at Germantown yesterday, and maybe I got lucky, but it only took 15 to 20 minutes for my chicken to be ready.

Bon Chon has been quoting me 20-25 minutes (it says 20 on their takeout menu). On Sunday afternoon, they quoted 25, I showed at 25, and waited 5 more. I think it really is a 20 minute process, so perhaps your order was fired the moment you ordered it.

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I've been twice now. Holy crap, this is good chicken. I don't know if I buy the "low calorie healthy" stuff, but the skin does seem to be completely rendered out in whatever cooking process they use. It's really amazing how they get the skin so crispy-brittle-hard, and the sauce doesn't soften it at all. The spicy sauce has been very hot the two times we've been, enough so that Barbara is sticking to the soy-garlic sauce.

We tried the fries and onion rings tonight; they're cooked well but are probably from a frozen bag. I'd get them again if I wanted fries or onion rings, but otherwise save your calories for the chicken. I'll probably try some of their other Korean dishes in time, probably starting with the tonkatsu. Fried pork cutlet should be right up their alley.

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Could someone give me some tips on locating the Germantown branch? I know where Germantown Plaza is and I walked up and down the whole strip mall but no luck. Is it in the supermarket?

rob t.

Yes, it's in the supermarket, in the back RIGHT corner. NOT where the food court is, which is in the back LEFT corner.

Though I did hear a rumor that the KFC in Germantown was closed, so you might want to try to call or get intel before heading out.

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Yes, it's in the supermarket, in the back RIGHT corner. NOT where the food court is, which is in the back LEFT corner.

Though I did hear a rumor that the KFC in Germantown was closed, so you might want to try to call or get intel before heading out.

It is closed. I went about four months ago and it was shut down due to lack of traffic.

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Q: What do you call a moose on Mount Olympus?

A: A moussaka.

There's something surreal about sitting in an empty Bon Chon Chicken, whilttling away the 35-minute wait furtively (*) sipping soju, and helping your young dining companion with his word study.

Observations:

1) Large order of chicken served with maraschino cherry

2) There is a bottle of Louis XIII Cognac sitting on top of the bar

3) Kindly server concocted a "chicken-soju" combo tab ($30.95)

4) Gratis soup (with both sausage- and pita-looking gluten) and nasty Russian-dressing salad shred

5) Open until 2 AM Tuesday-Saturday

6) I've eaten more MSG in the past three days than I have in the past three months

7) The take-out menu has the chutzpah to tout that the hot sauce contains vitamins A and C

Cheers,

Rocks

(*) "What is that?" "Oh, it's sort of like sake." "Why do they serve it in those little glasses?" "Korean custom."

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Q: What do you call a moose on Mount Olympus?

A: A moussaka.

There's something surreal about sitting in an empty Bon Chon Chicken, whilttling away the 35-minute wait furtively (*) sipping soju, and helping your young dining companion with his word study.

Observations:

1) Large order of chicken served with maraschino cherry

2) There is a bottle of Louis XIII Cognac sitting on top of the bar

3) Kindly server concocted a "chicken-soju" combo tab ($30.95)

4) Gratis soup (with both sausage- and pita-looking gluten) and nasty Russian-dressing salad shred

5) Open until 2 AM Tuesday-Saturday

6) I've eaten more MSG in the past three days than I have in the past three months

7) The take-out menu has the chutzpah to tout that the hot sauce contains vitamins A and C

Cheers,

Rocks

(*) "What is that?" "Oh, it's sort of like sake." "Why do they serve it in those little glasses?" "Korean custom."

Its even better the next day, the crispy skin keeps the chicken moist and its still crunchy.. those wings are the best I have ever had..

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"Chicken that is tasteful & nutritionally enriched." I wonder what they mean by nutritionally enriched.

Click

All that said, I do want to check this place out. Does chicken really take 30-40 minutes to cook in a fryer as was mentioned in another thread?

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"Chicken that is tasteful & nutritionally enriched." I wonder what they mean by nutritionally enriched.

Click

All that said, I do want to check this place out. Does chicken really take 30-40 minutes to cook in a fryer as was mentioned in another thread?

Yes, it takes 35 minutes to cook - I assume they use a giant wok. The drumsticks are better than the wings (you'll have your choice of one, the other, or both), and the garlic sauce is better than the hot sauce (you'll also have your choice of one, the other, or both). But for your first visit, you might want to mix and match - a large order is plenty for two. Don't forget the soju while you wait!

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Yes, it takes 35 minutes to cook - I assume they use a giant wok. The drumsticks are better than the wings (you'll have your choice of one, the other, or both), and the garlic sauce is better than the hot sauce (you'll also have your choice of one, the other, or both). But for your first visit, you might want to mix and match - a large order is plenty for two. Don't forget the soju while you wait!
And does that 'specially engineered' :rolleyes: sauce really stay 'free from your hand' as promised on the website?
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"Chicken that is tasteful & nutritionally enriched." I wonder what they mean by nutritionally enriched.

I don't believe for a second how fried chicken can be healthy. The chicken on the other hand does taste good and has that crispy coating that you can't duplicate at home.

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We were the first ones there today, waiting at the door when they opened at noon. We were told that it would take an hour, but to come back at 12:50 to be seated (we had requested to leave as a toddler will not sit still for an hour). We then went to the garden center next door where there is a playground, fish, and tons of plants on display. A wonderful way to kill a beautiful afternoon. At 12:50, as we were walking back, they called to say that it would be ready shortly. Upon our return, we were seated immediately, our server was wonderful, and the chicken was heavenly!

I had been reluctant to bring the girl here because of the wait and service complaints, but - unfortunately for my weight - this is likely to be a somewhat regular stop for us.

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Tonight we called in our carryout: two large (one garlic, one spicy, both drumsticks). We were told to arrive in an hour. For background, we had tried Mad for Chicken last week and wanted to compare.

After a 20 minute travel home, I opened the goodies and was pleasantly surprised we had indeed received "fried chicken" and not "wings". 10 regular drumsticks, a whisper of a cole slaw, and a nice diced radish side for $20-ish, per order. This was definitely a meal and not an appetizer.

I grabbed a stick and drummed into it. Crispy skin, juicy chicken, a fine offering indeed. The garlic was very mild, the spicy a bit more interesting.

Then my wife piped in. She was happy with our meal as well, but preferred Mad for Chicken. There, the chicken is much crispier, and more flavorful, IHO.

So: I like Korean fried chicken but probably won't ever jones for it. I will say that the style makes for an ideal picnic outing, even with leftovers.

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We stopped by for carryout after Honey Pig (oink) and got a drink while waiting for our orders. I got a large special, half & half. I like the wing drummettes better than the drumsticks, and the soy-garlic over the spicy, but really, it's all good. My car upholstery is never going to recover.

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I've got a hangover. A Bon Chon Chicken hangover. Oh. My. Gosh. I had the spicy and soy yesterday (I prefer the spicy) courtesy of two members of this board, and now I want to drive to Annandale to buy some, maybe enough to last me the week, except my stomach surely will explode before then based on the amount of chicken I ate yesterday. Yes, I know that is a long sentence, but you can't blame me. I'm not in my right mind. The Bon Chon has taken over.

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I've got a hangover. A Bon Chon Chicken hangover. Oh. My. Gosh. I had the spicy and soy yesterday (I prefer the spicy) courtesy of two members of this board, and now I want to drive to Annandale to buy some, maybe enough to last me the week, except my stomach surely will explode before then based on the amount of chicken I ate yesterday. Yes, I know that is a long sentence, but you can't blame me. I'm not in my right mind. The Bon Chon has taken over.

I would not recommend attempting to buy enough to last the week. We tried that once, and ended up eating it all in a 12 hour period. Talk about a BCC hangover!

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I'm guessing that Bon Chon only does call-ahead orders now on the weekend. Barbara called Bon Chon at 6 PM tonight to order ahead, hoping that we could get there at 6:30 and have the chicken ready then. But no, the earliest it would be ready would be 7:30. We got there about 7:10 to have some beer and fries, and right about 7:30 our chicken came out. Most of the tables I saw being seated had chicken brought out as soon as they were seated. I saw one couple come in and chat with one of the servers, then leave. Best to call ahead I guess.

On the other hand, large pitchers of beer and spicy chicken legs make me very happy, and it's worth planning ahead for.

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Finally got to Bon Chon for the first time tonight and I have nothing but great things to say! I was quoted 50 minutes until the next batch was ready, but luckily there were both a Pep Boys and a Home Depot nearby to help kill the time. I placed an order for large size soy garlic wings and a medium spicy drumsticks. The guy behind the bar took my cell number in case the chicken was ready for more than a few minutes and I had yet to return...pretty thoughtful, but it wasn't necessary. I walked back in 50 minutes after I placed the order to see my piping hot order just hitting the bar. Perfect.

The smell was intoxicating. I truthfully could barely contain myself from attacking the bag while driving home...but I was glad to wait and try the chicken with my girls so we could all taste it for the first time together. We all LOVED it. Super crispy, lacquered-but-yet-somehow-not-sticky, flavorful, moist, delicious chicken. Simply and easily some of the most memorable chicken I've ever tasted in my life. (FWIW, my 5 year old daughter went after the "spicy" chicken and wasn't fazed at all by it. It is truly pretty mild stuff.)

Now the shitty part is that I just moved...so I am only about three miles away from BCC. I need to resist the urge to go there too often so the "treat" is never spoiled.

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We've been to Bon Chon a few times over the past 6 months, and I'm sorry to say that the chicken is not as good. The drumsticks have been greasier of late. You bite in, and sometimes grease drains out of the skin. I warmed up the leftovers today, and there were small puddles of grease underneath the legs on the baking sheet. I don't know if this is from going on the weekend when they have bigger crowds or not. I might go back again on a weeknight, but probably not on the weekend.

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Went to the Fairfax branch because Annandale didn't pick up the phone. They said the chicken would be ready in about 45 mins and it was when we arrived an hour later.

My brother, who has never any Korean fried chicken before, really enjoyed both flavors. He also had praise for the pickled radishes, noting that many other house-made pickles are "all vinegar."

Great experience, all in all.

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Went to the Fairfax branch because Annandale didn't pick up the phone. They said the chicken would be ready in about 45 mins and it was when we arrived an hour later.

My brother, who has never any Korean fried chicken before, really enjoyed both flavors. He also had praise for the pickled radishes, noting that many other house-made pickles are "all vinegar."

Great experience, all in all.

Yep, I loved the pickles as well. The place is a lot nicer inside than I had thought it would be. Even though they seem to do a brisk take-out business, it is designed to appeal as a hangout to [Korean] youth. We got a large combo half and half - 4 drums and 12 wings. The spicy was enough to make our lips tingle a bit, but nothing serious, and the soy garlic was sweetish and reminded me strongly of the crunch/taste of crispy honey duck at Thai Square. Similar to that dish, I think the chicken at Bon Chon is dangerously addictive. We were impressed but not over the moon...at first. I think the flavor/texture is so strong that it makes a somewhat limited meal. As a picking or snack food, however, it is pretty much perfect. Our bucket was demolished within a couple of hours and we're seriously considering ordering more tonight. Either way, we've been talking about it all day. Hopefully we'll make it a day or two before we succumb.

Also, they're open (Fairfax branch) 7 days a week now!

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We've been to Bon Chon a few times over the past 6 months, and I'm sorry to say that the chicken is not as good. The drumsticks have been greasier of late. You bite in, and sometimes grease drains out of the skin. I warmed up the leftovers today, and there were small puddles of grease underneath the legs on the baking sheet. I don't know if this is from going on the weekend when they have bigger crowds or not. I might go back again on a weeknight, but probably not on the weekend.

Just a quick note that the chicken there tonight was as good as it ever was, much better than a year ag.. Hardshell crispy skin, fat rendered, and full of awesome.

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FYI, the Bon Chon in Centreville sells really really solid pork buns. Talked to the owner for a bit and it seems that they allow the franchises quite a bit of leeway. The buns are directly inspired by Momofuku in NY and I would say it is comparable. Really good.

The chicken of course is great as well as is always from this chain but the buns set it apart from the other locations (they are also available for carry out). Sounds like he did ramen a while back but it was too hard to maintain in the small kitchen they have. The other bon chons do not have the buns, only the one in Centreville, though it sounds like he may be expanding soon (to Arlington).

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If you're in Arlington and in need of a crispy wing fix now, +1 and I thought the wings at Tallula's EatBar was pretty comparable to Bon Chon wings (crispy, sweet and spicy, though no drum sticks in the mix), plus much better drinks and snacks offerings.

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I am really excited BonChon is coming to Arlington. I never did make the trek out to Annandale to try it out. I know I'm in the minority, but I do like Ultimate Bistro Chicken which can give you the whole chicken. I wish BonChon could offer the same. Nonetheless I definitely will try it out although my cholesterol will suffer (once again)!

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The Bon Chon in Annandale is no longer called Bon Chon. They have a banner with the new name covering up the Bon Chon sign (see pic). The font on the sign is a little hard to read, but the name looks like Chi-Mc. Also says Chicken and Beer. According to the note on the door, the name change starts Jan 2013. The note also says that they're also going to be closed for a couple of weeks from Feb. 4 for renovation (pic of note also attached).

post-889-0-79819300-1357069846_thumb.jpgpost-889-0-67381800-1357069862_thumb.jpg

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I've been to the Annandale, Centreville, and Fairfax locations. The Centreville location by far is the best. The service is better, it's cleaner, and they have the aforementioned buns (though I wouldn't go quite so far as to liken them to Momofuku). I don't mind the wait times because they have appetizers.

The Fairfax one is alright in terms of service and wait times.

The Annandale one is absolutely horrible. Even though it is the closest for me, I will never go to that location again. Not only is it slightly grimy feeling inside, but the service is very lackadaisical. They were sold out of drumsticks, but we luckily got an order of half-and-half. What do they do? They gave our order to a table that had sat down after we had ordered. They were surprised they got their food so quickly, and when I raised it to their attention, they didn't care at all. A 10 minute wait for someone and an hour wait for another table?

There is a location coming to Arlington soon (Pershing Drive, I'm going to be so fat...), so I'll see how that goes. Probably carry-out only.

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There is a location coming to Arlington soon (Pershing Drive, I'm going to be so fat...), so I'll see how that goes. Probably carry-out only.

Unless things have changed since the article posted above, the Arlington location will have +100 seats, serve beer and even more apps, and be run by the Centreville owners.

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The Annandale one is absolutely horrible.
During the past few years, I've had frustrating experiences trying to order takeout from the Annandale location. The phone has often been busy during repeated attempts, and when I did get through, it's varied widely in terms of how long before a takeout order would be ready. Once they told me it would be a few hours or so, I don't remember the exact quote, and I didn't bother to order.

A while back I ordered once from the Fairfax location and, after my Annandale experiences, I was pleasantly surprised that I was easily able to get through on the phone and the quoted pick up time was reasonable.

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